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Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

[Gorky, Maxim; Peshkov, Aleksey (Maksimovich)]

(b Nizhny Novgorod, March 28, 1868; d Moscow, June 18, 1936).

Russian writer and critic. Early in his career he worked as an art critic for the Nizhegorodskiy Listok and published several articles (May–Sept, 1896) on the All-Russian Industrial and Art Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. His aesthetic principles were very significantly influenced by the ‘philosophy of life’ of Friedrich Nietzsche, but on the other hand he borrowed heavily from the ‘revolutionary democratic aesthetics’ proposed by V. G. Belinsky, N. A. Dobroliubov and N. G. Chernyshevsky. He regarded as great art academic-style paintings that were intelligible to the people, and he opposed the ‘decadent’ and ‘antisocial’, which he saw in much new art, not least the work of Mikhail Vrubel’. Gor’ky’s interest in politics was evident in both his writing (e.g. the novel Mat’ [‘Mother’], 1906) and his fund-raising for the Bolsheviks. However, in his defence of artistic monuments (Revolution and Culture, 1918), he protested that the recent revolution was anti-cultural and in an attempt to oppose the destruction of Russian culture he founded the Culture and Freedom Society, which published a bulletin and collection of articles emphasizing the ideas that the material (outer) culture directly affects the spiritual (inner) one; that culture is non-party; and that the cultural heritage must be preserved. As a realist and a friend of Il’ya Repin he came into conflict not only with formalist critics such as Victor Shklovsky but also those Symbolists, Futurists and other avant-garde artists who felt that the revolution should build a distinctly Soviet culture using new artistic methods and approaches. From ...

Article

John E. Bowlt

(Timofeyevich)

(b Karakovichi, Smolensk province, June 28, 1874; d Moscow, Oct 9, 1971).

Russian sculptor. From 1892 to 1896 he attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he studied under Sergey Volnukhin (1859–1921), and from 1899 to 1902 he attended the St Petersburg Academy of Arts, studying under Vladimir Beklemishev (1861–1920). He moved quickly from the academic lessons of these teachers, reflected in such pieces as The Stone-breaker (bronze, 1898; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), to a more lyrical concept in the early 1900s: travelling frequently in Western Europe, he studied the sculpture of Bourdelle, Rodin and Gauguin and produced a number of works that bear their influence such as Nike (marble, 1906) and Lada (marble, 1909) (both Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). In the 1900s Konyonkov also became increasingly interested in Russian legend and mythology, producing interpretations of such folklore figures as the Bogatyr Kuz’ma Sirafontov (plaster, 1913; Serpukhov, A. Mus.). Because of its malleability and expressive potential, wood became his preferred medium....

Article

John E. Bowlt

(Vasil’yevich)

(b Borisoglebsk, Voronezh province, March 10, 1880; d Moscow, March 18, 1960).

Russian painter. After studying at various private art schools, including those of Lev Dmitriyev-Kavkazsky (1849–1916) in St Petersburg and Konstantin Yuon in Moscow, he enrolled in 1906 at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where his principal teacher was Konstantin Korovin. Kuprin quickly became acquainted with contemporary developments in painting, thanks especially to his exposure to the collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works owned by Ivan Morosov and Sergey Shchukin and also the international exhibitions organized by the journal Zolotoye Runo (Golden Fleece). The early works of Derain and Picasso were of particular importance to Kuprin at that time.

Kuprin was close to Robert Fal’k, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Aristarkh Lentulov, Il’ya Mashkov and Vasily Rozhdestvensky, and he joined the Jack of Diamonds group in 1910, thereby forming a temporary allegiance with its avant-garde leaders Natal’ya Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin. At this point Kuprin sympathized with their concentration on primitive, indigenous art forms, and his paintings of the following decade, such as ...

Article

(b Moscow, Sept 22, 1859; d Moscow, Dec 6, 1937).

Russian painter and designer. He attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1881–90, studying under Vladimir Makovsky, Vasily Polenov and Illarion Pryanishnikov, and joined the Wanderers (Peredvizhniki) in 1891. At first Malyutin supported the traditions of narrative Realism, as is clear from paintings such as Peasant Girl (1890; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), although he quickly developed other interests in the popular arts and crafts, in history painting and in plein-air painting.

Like other Russian artists of his time such as Ivan Bilibin, Nicholas Roerich, the Vasnetsov brothers and Mikhail Vrubel’, Malyutin turned for inspiration to Russian folklore, ancient history and the domestic arts, as in his panoramic Battle of Kulikovo for the Historical Museum in Moscow (1898) and in his invention in 1889 of the matryoshka (Russian stacking doll), which, misleadingly, has now been accepted as an integral part of traditional Russian folk art. In the 1890s he worked at the ...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

(b Kutaisi, May 29, 1876; d Tbilisi, March 10, 1951).

Georgian sculptor. He was born into a family of artists: his father was a wood-carver, his brother Vasily a painter. From 1895 he studied at the Odessa school of drawing and first tried his hand at sculpture in 1896. The sculptor Georgy Gabashvili gave him encouragement, and shortly afterwards Nikoladze went to Paris, where he studied under Antonin Mercié, among others. In 1904 he was again in Paris where he switched from working in plaster to sculpting in stone and marble under the guidance of Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and Charles Despiau. The bronze Unemployed (1906; Sydney, priv. col.) was influenced by Rodin’s Burghers of Calais (1895; Calais, outside Hôtel de Ville). Nikoladze returned to Tbilisi a staunch supporter of Neo-classicism. Widespread recognition came as a result of his bronze monument to the poet I. Chavchavadze, Grieving Motherland (1910–12; Tbilisi, Mtatsminda Hill, pantheon of Georgian public figures), which portrays the figure of a woman under an ancient portal. The work is impressionistically vibrant yet precise and solid. Following this success, he was commissioned to represent numerous Georgian personages, past and present, including ...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

[Yehuda; Iyeguda] (Moiseyevich)

(b Novo-Aleksandrovsk, Kovenskaya province, ?1854; d Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], Feb 28, 1937).

Belarusian painter. After studying under Boris Gershovich and then under Pavel Chistyakov (1832–1919) at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts (1882–5), he founded his own art school in Viciebsk, where his pupils included Marc Chagall and Solomon Yudovin. The school paved the way for the intense artistic activity in Viciebsk in 1918–22, although Pen himself did not welcome the extreme avant-garde. The Unovis group founded by Kazimir Malevich left no room for Pen’s art, but he continued to teach nevertheless. Few of Pen’s works have survived; most of the 700 works that he gave to the Belarusian government and that were housed in the Yury Pen Museum in Viciebsk until World War II have been lost. Those works that have survived often reveal the artist’s desire to capture his surroundings, as in Old Soldier (Minsk, Belarus’. A. Mus.). His smaller paintings, such as Jewish Rabbi (untraced), the naive style of which resembles the works of Henri Rousseau and Niko Pirosmanashvili, bring together people, objects and nature. Pen considered realism the only possible means of expression in painting. Therefore, after he produced works with new titles in the 1920s, such as ...

Article

Catherine Cooke

(Viktorovich)

(b Kishinyov [now Chişinău], Moldova, Sept 26, 1873; d Moscow, May 24, 1949).

Russian architect, urban planner and restorer, of Moldovan birth. Although by nature a historicist, to whom undecorated Modernism was a response to poverty rather than an aim in itself, he came to occupy a central position in the formative years of Soviet Modernist architecture during the 1920s. His own best works, however, date in general from the periods before the Revolution of 1917 and after 1930, when public architectural tastes were closer to his own.

His father was a minor official in Russian provincial administration in Kishinyov. Orphaned while still at school, but a highly talented draughtsman, Shchusev went to St Petersburg and entered the Academy of Arts in 1891 studying, after the reforms of 1894, in the studio of Leonty Benois. His diploma project of 1897 won him the Academy’s gold medal and a 16-month trip to Europe in 1898–9. On his return he worked for Benois until receiving his own first significant commission in ...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

[ Zhmuydzinavichyus, Antanas ( Ionasovich )]

(b Seiriai, Seinai region, Oct 31, 1876; d Kaunas, Aug 9, 1966).

Lithuanian painter, administrator and writer. He qualified as a drawing teacher at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts and taught at the Warsaw Commercial College (1899–1905) while continuing his studies. He also studied in Paris (from 1905), Munich (1908–9) and Hamburg (1912). During a short stay in Vilnius in 1906–7 he became close to Petras Rimša and Mikalojus Čiurlionis, founding the Lithuanian Art Society, which combined two trends in Lithuanian art: realist (Žmuidzinavičius, Petras Kalpokas, Rimša) and Symbolist (Čiurlionis). He was the initiator of the first Lithuanian Art Exhibition, held in Vilnius in 1907, at which he showed 35 paintings, among them Peasant Kitchen (1905; Kaunas, A. Žmuidzinavičius Mem. Mus.). During these years Žmuidzinavičius was influenced by the work of the Symbolists, as evident in Horseman (1910–12; Kaunas, A. Žmuidzinavičius Mem. Mus.). His essays on art were published in periodicals and newspapers in Vilnius, Kaunas and Warsaw in the first two decades of the 20th century. He maintained contact with Lithuanian emigrés in the USA, which he visited in ...